STORY BY ADAM SHINDER, THE RECORDER
AMSTERDAM, N.Y.- Heading into the playoffs, Amsterdam Mohawks coach Keith Griffin knew his team needed to rediscover a spark he felt they’d lost sometime during their long, grueling run through the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League season.
As the players stormed onto the field at Rao Family Stadium at Shuttleworth Park on Wednesday night for a celebratory dogpile, it was pretty obvious that they found what Griffin felt they were lacking.
The Mohawks spotted the Adirondack Trail Blazers a three-run lead early on Wednesday in Game 2 of the PGCBL Championship Series, but a six-run surge in the bottom of the third proved to be the turning point and pitcher Nick Massa overcame early struggles to rack up 13 strikeouts over six innings as the Mohawks beat Adirondack, 10-4, to sweep the best-of-three series and hoist the PGCBL championship trophy for the first time since 2016.
“They played great. We didn’t lose a game in the playoffs,” Griffin said. “I can’t be more proud of them. I think the first championship we won [in 2009] and this one are probably the most special, because we just fought and fought and fought. We lost so many players, overcame so much adversity. It’s a credit to those guys.”
Maxwell Costes, who homered twice Tuesday in Amsterdam’s Game 1 win, went 3-for-3 with a double and two runs batted in en route to being named the Most Valuable Player of the championship series. Mitch Hartigan ripped an RBI double and belted his second home run of the series, while D.J. Poteet hit a two-run homer that capped off Amsterdam’s six-run third.
Adirondack got three runs across in the top of the second on an RBI double by Steven Miller, an RBI groundout by Randy Flores and an RBI single from Connor Hamilton, but the Mohawks answered in the bottom of the third.
After Dalton Reese worked a one-out walk, the floodgates opened for Amsterdam with back-to-back RBI doubles by Costes and Hartigan, followed by an RBI triple by Richie Barrella and an RBI single by Michael Turconi. After Kevin Jimenez grounded out, Poteet connected for a two-run blast over the wall in left to make it 6-3.
That was more than enough cushion for Massa, who settled in after his rocky second inning and finished with 13 strikeouts over six innings. Amsterdam added a run in the fourth and two in the fifth before Hartigan’s solo shot in the eighth capped off the Mohawks’ night at the plate.
Adirondack got a consolation run in the ninth, but when Trey Alderman struck out Peter Cosentino to end it, the celebration was on in Amsterdam.